Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fwd: Real ID Act Gets 'No' Vote in Maine

--- In, "Alfons" <alfons@...> wrote:

JANUARY 31, 2007 | Maine is the first state in the nation to reject
the Real ID Act, but even Republican lawmakers who support the
president's vision of a national identity card are leery of the
federal mandate.

Republican Rep. John C. Robinson of Raymond is one of the four Maine
lawmakers who voted against a resolution protesting the Real ID Act,
which is part of the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction.
Robinson says he opposes the law but that he didn't want to take a
swipe at the last Republican-led Congress and President George W.

"Frankly, I don't support state mandates, and I certainly don't
support federal mandates," he says. "I didn't want any part of a
political maneuver taking a swipe at the past Congress and the
president. From my standpoint, I wasn't elected to waste the people's
time with symbolic gestures."

The Real ID Act aims to link driver's licenses and state
identification to a central database, where all states can access
information. It also aims to prevent identity crime and improve
national security by imposing stricter requirements for obtaining and
creating licenses. The act calls for machine-readable technology but
doesn't specify the type.

The Maine Legislature passed a joint resolution Thursday demanding
the repeal of the law and announcing they were the first state
lawmakers in the country to do so. The resolution states that the
Real ID Act of 2005 would place an unfair financial burden on states,
threaten privacy, and leave citizens vulnerable to identity theft. It
also states that the law, scheduled to take effect next year, fails
to accomplish its mission of improving security.

Robinson, the only Maine representative who responded to phone calls
requesting information about opposition votes, says that a statement
from the Maine Civil Liberties Union made it clear the protest wasn't
just against the Real ID Act. The Maine Civil Liberties Union issued
a news release last week stating that its lawmakers "protest the
treatment of the states by the President and the United States

The group also said it anticipates a "cascade of state refusals" to
implement the law. According to the American Civil Liberties Union,
lawmakers have filed similar bills in Georgia, Montana, New
Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington.

A Maine Republican who sponsored the resolution opposing Real ID said
that broad support for the resolution indicates opposition isn't
based on partisan politics.

"It wouldn't make any sense to implement a program that is opposed by
so many people from both sides of the aisle and doesn't seem to have
any real benefits for the people of Maine," Scott Lansley, a
Republican from Sabattus, said in a prepared statement.

The National Conference of State Legislatures opposes the Real ID Act
and estimates it will cost states $11 billion in five years.

Supporters argue that the law would enhance national security by
making it harder for terrorists or illegal immigrants to forge
licenses or obtain identification fraudulently.

— K.C. Jones, Information Week

--- End forwarded message ---

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